Stocks Advance in Early US Session as Earnings Data Bolster Investor Sentiment


Equities were trending higher in early US trading on Tuesday as earnings gave the markets an upbeat tone to recoup some of the losses made a day earlier.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) gained 2.3% as it reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, raising its guidance for the full year.

But the blue-chip measure’s gains were constrained by component UnitedHealth (UNH), which fell 1.7% even after beating expectations with its own quarterly results. The Standard & Poor’s 500 health care group rose 0.6% while financials were up 0.6%. Insurer Progressive (PGR) climbed 5.6% after earnings and revenue beat forecasts.

Also in earnings, Bank of America (BAC) shares fell 2.2% after its revenue came in shy of analysts’ expectations at $23 billion. BlackRock (BLK) firmed 1.9% after results topped expected as inflows and assets under management grew.

In other company news, Packaging Corp. of America (PKG) sank 8.1% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the stock to neutral from buy. Guardant Health (GH) gained 4.1% after Canaccord Genuity started coverage of the stock at buy with a $90 price target.

Gains in the markets were constrained by industrial production data for March that contracted 0.1%, coming in below expectations for a 0.3% rise. Manufacturing was flat month-on-month after declining in January and February, the Federal Reserve said.

Lower oil prices kept energy shares in check, with the sector lifted changed on the S&P 500. West Texas Intermediate fell 0.4% to $63.16 a barrel while Brent decreased 0.4% to $70.87 a barrel.

In morning trading, the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4% while the Dow and the S&P 500 were both up 0.2%.

Globally, the FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, the Shanghai Composite jumped 2.4%, the Hang Seng gained 1.1% and the Nikkei 225 added 0.2%.